Frequently Asked Questions
Is this project an extension to the Berwick Solar Farm?
No, this is a separate project, to be owned by the community.
Will I be able to visit the site?
Cuckmere Community Solar will encourage people to visit the site. We will be hosting community events on the site each year and we would love you to come and join us.
Who owns Cuckmere Community Solar Company?
Cuckmere Community Solar will be owned by its members and is set up as a Community Benefit Society. A Board of Directors will be voted on by its members each year at an Annual General Meeting. This legal form is essential for our project as it ensures the community nature and goals of the organisation. The project has been developed by a diverse and experienced group of people drawn from the local community; these people have been the first Members and Directors of the Community Benefit Society and have given their time voluntarily to develop the project.
The project will generate clean electricity that helps us live more sustainably and contributes to ensuring energy security for the country. The local community will benefit as surplus income will form our ‘Community Dividend’, which we will use to help local people to make their homes warmer and cheaper to run; it will also support local sustainability projects. Members (investors) will receive an annual return on their investment, providing a benefit to the local economy.
Will there be benefits for wildlife?
Yes; we intend to enhance the area for wildlife by using a wildflower seed mix, reinstating an ancient field boundary with a new mixed hedgerow and consulting local wildlife experts and you on other things we can do. We have already helped put up nest boxes for swifts, other birds and bats on the neighbouring solar farm, and planted fruit trees in the community area. All those involved are genuinely interested in making this a haven for wildlife.
Will the land still be farmed?
Yes; many farmers with solar farms are now reporting little loss in agricultural output and, in fact, substantial benefits for livestock, who appreciate the shelter in winter and the shade in summer! The land is grade 3b (1 is highest, 5 is lowest), so we are not taking quality land out of production – it is heavy land that is difficult to work.
What size will the project be?
The project will comprise up to 4MW of panels which will generate enough power for about 880 homes. It will cover about 10 hectares or 16 acres. There will be approximately 13,000 solar panels and this will result in annual savings in carbon dioxide equivalent to 1,880 tonnes annually.
Will the project be visible?
The site is hidden from the C39 road and generally inconspicuous. There will be some limited visibility from three local properties but we will work with the owners to minimise the impact by planting new hedgerows.
The site will be just visible from the Downs but only if you look very carefully and have eagle eyes! The existing solar farm, which occupies a larger area, is only barely visible even on a good day.
How long will it take to build?
Our intention is that once started, it will be built in approximately 12 weeks.
What will happen to the solar farm at the end of the project?
Planning consent is for 27 years. The plan is that the project will end at that point and the land will return to normal agricultural use.
Much will have changed in energy technology by then, so if there were an appetite to continue in some way, we would consult with all relevant parties and investigate the best way forward. But that is a very long way off!
When was the planning consent approved and how can I see the planning consent details?
The planning consent was approved on 6th February 2017. You can view the planning consent by visiting Wealden District Council’s website and searching for the application using WD/2015/1635/MEA or LAND AT WICK STREET, BERWICK, BN26.
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